Principles of examining a patient who presents with flashes and floaters
- If you are unable to carry out an adequate examination when you examine a patient who presents with flashes and/or floaters, you must refer the patient to a practitioner who is competent to do this.
- You should ensure that front line or support staff are trained to deal with such a patient who contacts the practice. Patients should be told a diagnosis cannot be reached without an examination.
- If you carry out an examination, you should continue until you detect a problem and can make a diagnosis or have sufficient evidence to decide what action to take.
- If you suspect a retinal break or tear, you should, as a minimum:
- take a detailed history and symptoms, looking for particular risk factors
- examine the anterior vitreous to look for pigment cells
- perform a dilated fundal examination, using an indirect viewing technique
- give appropriate advice to the patient, which you back up with written information.
See section on Patient records.